Transfer case leak

Tiny
MCFUDDEN
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 FORD EXPLORER
  • 4.0L
  • V6
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 172,000 MILES
This SUV is driving me insane. I’ve definitely got a leak from the transfer case. Not a huge one, a few drops when it’s hot, but it’s enough to know it’s a problem. When I look underneath it, the leak appears to be coming from the actual housing gasket and not the shaft. I googled the gasket and found it for like $10.00 to $20.00. Awesome, but here’s the real question: Is it a doable project for a guy with a floor jack, jack stands, a torque wrench and a whole lot of? "I’ve got $4,500.00 sunk into this thing and would like to not sink another $1,000.00 in.” I’m having no problems with the 4x4 currently. It’s running fine, or so it would seem. I do know if it keeps leaking from the transfer case, I’m not going to be able to say that for long. I’m attaching a picture of where it’s leaking.
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Sunday, April 21st, 2019 AT 7:44 PM

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Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Welcome to 2CarPros.

Honestly, it is a big job. I am going to provide directions for taking the transfer case apart and directions for removal. With that, you can determine if it is something you want to do. Note that there are two different types of transfer cases on this vehicle. One is for AWD and the other is for automatic 4wd. You will need to let me know which one you have so I can confirm the information I provide. Regardless, is it basically the same for either.

The directions are for the automatic 4wd. If you have the other, let me know. Also, the attached pictures correlate with the directions. I only provided the directions to actually separate the two casings.

_____________________________

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2002 Ford Truck Explorer 4WD V6-4.0L VIN E
Disassembly
Vehicle Transmission and Drivetrain Transfer Case Service and Repair Procedures Transfer Case-Automatic Shift Disassembly
DISASSEMBLY
Transfer Case

picture 1

picture 2

picture 3

picture 4

Special Tool(s)

Disassembly

picture 5

picture 6

Disassembled View
1. Remove the transfer case.
2. Remove the dampener.

Picture 7

3. Remove the heat shield.

Picture 8

4. WARNING: Make sure the Holding Fixture lock pin is secure.

Using the special tool, secure the transfer case to the bench.

Picture 9

5. Index-mark the rear output flange and the rear output shaft.

Picture 10

6. Using the special tool to hold the rear output flange, remove the nut.

Picture 11

7. Remove the rear output flange and the output shaft yoke washer.

Picture 12

8. Remove the oil seal.

Picture 13

9. Using the special tools, remove the oil seal.

Picture 14

10. Remove the coil wire pin from the electrical connector.
1 Remove the connector interlock.
2 Remove the coil wire pin.
1 Use electrical connector pin extractor tool.

Picture 15

picture 16

11. Remove the front and rear output shaft speed sensor bolts. Carefully remove the sensors from the transfer case.

Picture 17

12. Remove the four bolts and the transfer case shift motor.

13. NOTE: Inspect the tone wheel teeth for damage.

If necessary, remove and discard the tone wheel.

Picture 18

14. Remove the 17 bolts.

Picture 19

15. Remove the clutch coil assembly nuts.

Picture 20

16. Separate the transfer case halves at the transfer case pry bosses.

________________________________________

Here are the directions for removing the transfer case.

REMOVAL
Transfer Case -Automatic Transmission

picture 21

1. Remove the upper radiator cover.

Picture 22

2. Carry out the following on the RH side of the upper fan shroud.
1 Disconnect the air conditioning line from the bracket, if equipped.
2 Remove the screw, if equipped.
3 Remove the bolt.

Picture 23

3. Carry out the following on the LH side of the upper fan shroud.
1 Remove the screw, if equipped.
2 Remove the bolt.
3 Remove the upper fan shroud.
4. With the vehicle in neutral, raise and support the vehicle.

Picture 24

5. Remove the four bolts and the skid plate, if equipped.

Picture 25

6. Drain the fluid if the transfer case is to be disassembled.

7. NOTE: Index-mark the driveshaft yoke to the rear axle flange and to the transfer case flange.

Remove the rear driveshaft.

8. NOTE: Index-mark the driveshaft yoke to the transfer case flange and to the front axle flange.

Remove the front driveshaft.

Picture 26

9. Disconnect the motor electrical connector, if equipped.

Picture 27

10. Disconnect the vent hose.

Picture 28

11. Remove the RH and LH heat shield-to-crossmember bolts.

Pic 29

12. Remove the two nuts and the RH crossmember cover, then remove the four crossmember bolts.

Pic 30

13. Remove the four LH crossmember bolts.

Pic 31

14. Position a suitable transmission jack to the transfer case. Securely strap the transfer case to the jack.

Pic 32

15. Remove the transmission mount nuts, then remove the crossmember.
It may be necessary to pry the crossmember from the vehicle.

Pic 33

16. Remove the transmission mount.

Pic 34

17. Lower the transmission jack down just enough to access the upper transfer case to transmission bolts, including the bolt retaining the fuel line bracket. Position the bracket out of the way.

Pic 35

18. Position a suitable jack under the transmission.

Pic 36

19. Remove the remaining transfer case to transmission bolts. Separate the transfer case from the transmission.
20. Remove the transfer case from the vehicle.
Move the transfer case rearward until the transfer case clears the output shaft. Lower and at the same time slightly tilt the rear of the transfer case downward.

Pic 37

21. Remove and discard the transfer case to transmission gasket. Clean the transfer case and transmission mating surfaces.

________________________________

I hope this helps. Let me know the specifics if you decide to do the work.

Take care,
Joe
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Sunday, April 21st, 2019 AT 9:25 PM
Tiny
MCFUDDEN
  • MEMBER
Wow! Yeah, that s a job and a half. The gasket I see that is leaking is the one I am attaching the image of. So it s all that to just replace this gasket? Not just popping off the rear cover and replacing the gasket. I have the auto 4WD.
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Sunday, April 21st, 2019 AT 9:33 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Welcome back:

There are a few of the procedures you can bypass. For example, you can leave the speed sensors alone. However, most of it is required. I wish I had an easier answer. You may want to try a stop leak additive. I believe there are ones for the transfer case. Keep in mind, sometimes the leak appears worse than it is, too. Have you had to add fluid? Has it been low?

Joe
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Sunday, April 21st, 2019 AT 9:45 PM
Tiny
MCFUDDEN
  • MEMBER
I just noticed the leak on a drive back from the desert. I went out and had a little fun in the sand. The 4x4 was working great, and if my dash gauges can be believed I had no loss of oil pressure and no unnecessary heat. The engine oil is text book perfect but a 2002 Ford Explorer doesn t have a transmission dip that I m aware of. Sorry this is my first Ford V6. I m more familiar with the inline 6.
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Sunday, April 21st, 2019 AT 9:49 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Actually, to check the transfer case fluid, there are two plugs facing the rear of the vehicle. One is higher than the other. The higher one is the fill port. Fluid should be to the top of the bottom threaded portion of the port.

See the attached pic of the two plugs.

Let me know if it is low.
Joe
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Sunday, April 21st, 2019 AT 9:54 PM
Tiny
MCFUDDEN
  • MEMBER
Yes sir, this I know. You re referring to this plug here. I haven t pulled it to check. Like I said I just noticed the leak today. In all honestly some Miracle oil may save the day. I m just trying to find out how bad a job it s going to be should that not fix it. I ve read estimates from the internet s that it s about a $350.00 job to be lazy and get someone else to do it. $20.00 gasket and three hours of labor.
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Sunday, April 21st, 2019 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
MCFUDDEN
  • MEMBER
Also, I should maybe type with my contact lenses in. Sorry for the typos.
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Sunday, April 21st, 2019 AT 9:59 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
No problem. Very few typos. LOL

Take care and let me know if I can help.

Joe
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Sunday, April 21st, 2019 AT 10:13 PM
Tiny
MCFUDDEN
  • MEMBER
Was the quote I got from the internet even remotely close to being accurate? I saw around $350.00 to replace the transfer case gasket. Here s the history of the vehicle: Before I bought it, the rear timing chain (probably not the right name, but I m sure you know what I m talking about) broke and since the engine had to be pulled to replace it the guy payed to have the engine re-manufactured. He then rebuilt, and then replaced the transmission with heavy duty plates and spacers. The engine has 10,000 miles on it, the transmission has like 2,000 miles on it. Since I ve bought it, I ve fixed a leak in the AC, replaced the MAF and I m about to replace the AIC because the idle can sometimes drop too low on the verge of stalling when the AC is on. I also Sseafoamed it, and the idling issues have pretty much cleared up, which is why I haven t replaced the AIC yet. So the transfer case has 172,000 on it, while the engine and transmission have much less. After all the work was done, the Vehicle sat for quite sometime. The previous owner bought an Armada and has been driving that. So the gasket probably dried up during the period of no usage. The point being with the transfer case s age, replacing the gasket might not be a horrible idea. $350.00 isn t horrible for a little peace of mind.
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Sunday, April 21st, 2019 AT 10:25 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Welcome back:

What I did is post two pictures for you to see. One is parts and the other labor. It should give you an idea about cost.

Since so much was already done, if the body is good and specifically the inner rockers and body mounts are good, it would most likely be worth the repair, especially if it runs good.

Let me know if I can help.

Take care,
Joe
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Monday, April 22nd, 2019 AT 5:35 PM

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